Edna Dratch-Parker & Jeri Solomon

Boston, MA

Leaders in the wedding industry with a combined 30+ years of experience in wedding planning, and authors of The Real Deal Wedding Insiders® – Guide to Smart Wedding Planning.

Booking Info

Rebekah Epstein

210-315-9664

BOOK COVER

BOOK DETAILS

Pub Date: October 10, 2022
Genre: Non-fiction / Wedding / Reference
Page Count: 146
Format: 
Paperback, ebook
ISBN: 979-8986588803
Price: $18.99, paperback; $6.99 ebook

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Real Deal Wedding Insiders® – Guide to Smart Wedding Planning gives couples practical and actionable steps to take control of wedding planning, make the best decisions, and keep your sanity along the way.

Readers will learn how to:

  • Navigate stressful relationships
  • Create a vision that represents you both
  • Understand and build a realistic budget
  • Choose the right venue and vendors
  • Stay present and enjoy your wedding day


With a combined 30+ years of experience and hundreds of weddings produced, the Real Deal Wedding Insiders® have seen it all. Edna Dratch-Parker, founder and creative director of EFD Creative—Event Planning & Design and partner of 4LUXURE – Premium Wedding Planner Collective®, and Jeri Solomon, owner of Jeri Solomon Floral Design, combine their depth of knowledge and real-life experiences to help on your wedding planning journey.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Edna Dratch-Parker

Edna, founder and creative director of EFD Creative—Event Planning & Design and partner of 4LUXURE – Premium Wedding Planner Collective®, brings her unique blend of experience as an artist, entrepreneur, and creative director to each and every wedding she’s planned for over the past decade. A graduate of the Maine College of Art & Design, her approach to events comes from her desire to create a cohesive and visually engaging experience. Edna has received a number of industry honors, including “Wedding of the Year” from NACE National, the “Spirit Award” from the Boston Wedding Group - multiple years, “Social Event Planner of the Year” from BizBash, “Trendsetter of the Year” from Wedding Planner magazine, and “New England Wedding of the Year 2012” from NACE Boston. She’s also been the recipient of the WeddingWire Couple’s Choice Award consecutively since 2009, and has won The Knot’s Best of Weddings Award every year since 2014. She is also a part of The Knot’s Wedding Hall of Fame. Edna’s work has been published nationally in magazines and blogs.

Jeri Solomon

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Jeri parlayed her entrepreneurial spirit with her first love of flowers into a business – Jeri Solomon Floral Design, that has allowed her to be creative and thrive in the Boston wedding industry for over 25 years. Jeri’s motto is “Weddings are stressful; flowers shouldn’t be.” She believes in providing each of her customers not only with gorgeous floral arrangements but also with exceptional service, attention to detail, and impeccable design. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including: Boston Weddings, Flower magazine, The Knot, Modern Luxury Weddings: Boston, and Grace Ormonde Wedding Style. As one of the founding members of the prestigious Boston Wedding Group, Jeri has served in various leadership roles including president, vice president, and secretary.

TALKING POINTS

Valentine’s Day is the most popular time of the year to get engaged. Here are their insider tips on what newly engaged couples need to know about wedding planning. 

  • The importance of including your partner during the vision planning phase
  • Some common unexpected costs
  • 5 Tips for figuring out your budget and sticking to it 
  • The pros and cons of a DIY wedding
  • Discuss their “SMART” acronym approach to wedding planning
  • Tips for staying present during the wedding day

TIMELY TIE-INS

February

  • National Weddings Month
  • Valentine’s Day - February 14 (most popular day for engagements!)
  • Relationship Wellness Month
  • Creative Romance Month


March

  • International Ideas Month
  • National Wedding Planner Day - March 1
  • National Proposal Day!!- March 20


April

  • Financial Literacy Month (talk about money/spending)
  • International Day of Hope- April 5 
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Tell a Story Day - April 27


May

  • Mental Health Awareness Month
  • Family Support Month
  • Creative Beginnings Month

Q&A WITH EDNA & JERI

Does every engaged couple need a wedding planner? What are some hallmarks of a situation where you need one?

No, not every couple needs a wedding planner. However there are many situations where a wedding planner will be invaluable. Generally the couple is planning a wedding for the first time and they have one chance to get it right. The planner understands the big picture and can guide couples through the process. Planners have relationships with venues and vendors and understand the nuances of negotiations. Planners help their clients stay on budget. They can assist with the overall vision to assure the wedding has a cohesive aesthetic. They keep the process moving throughout the months of planning and make sure nothing is overlooked. They are on-site at the wedding to make sure everything runs smoothly. 

Some specific situations where a couple would need a planner are:

  • If a couple doesn’t have the time or skill set to be the project manager for their wedding.
  • If the wedding is at a location where the couple doesn’t live.
  • If the wedding is taking place at a non-traditional venue where there are many additional details to keep track of. 


What are some red and green flags when vetting a vendor?

Let’s start with the green flags. 

  • Professionalism. That can include reasonable response times to inquiries and questions, the person presenting themselves in a polished manner and has a deep knowledge base of their field.
  • Communication. They listen to your questions and answer them so that you feel heard and comfortable. You “click” and you feel like they “get you”
  • You like their work. They have examples of their work on their website or social media channels.
  • Good reviews. If you read a number of reviews that say the same thing. You can expect that level of service. Positive reviews from other vendors is also a great green flag. 


Red flags are the opposite of the green flags. 

  • Lack of professionalism.
  • You don’t click and it seems like you always have to explain yourself.
  • You don’t like examples of their work.
  • Consistent concerning issues mentioned in reviews. 


How do you create a realistic wedding budget?

It’s a process! One that takes time and research. We suggest reaching out to vendors and venues located where the wedding will be to understand their pricing. National averages found online can be very misleading. The size of your guest list will affect how much of the budget goes to food/beverage, flowers, invitations. Couples see so much inspiration on social media for luxury weddings. It’s easy to fall in love with it all. But it’s important to manage expectations of what is reasonable within their budget. We suggest couples reserve a minimum of 20% of their budget for unexpected costs. More if possible. It sounds like a lot, but that is the best way to stay on budget. 

How do you build the most efficient wedding committee?

 A wedding committee is like any committee. You will have to work with different personalities, management styles and work habits. Communication and documentation of what is going on is key so everyone stays on the same page. Having enough time to work through sticking points is also helpful. 

What are some hard truths that you have to watch out for during wedding planning?

Wedding planning is fun and exciting, but also stressful. We think couples can benefit from knowing some of the hard truths going into the process so they aren’t caught by surprise. Here are some things to keep in mind. 

  • It’s a lot of work. Couples will spend up to 12 hours a week planning. That’s a part-time job!
  • It will cost more than expected. Almost 50% of couples say they exceeded their budget.
  • The stress may test your relationship with your partner.
  • Other relationships may become strained from hurt feelings, jealousy or misunderstanding.
  • The multitude of choices can cause decision fatigue. 


How do you identify and handle “judgers” in your committee? Are they a bad thing?

Judgers are usually easy to spot. They share their opinions even when you didn’t ask and they often have a negative or critical approach to the planning process. They aren’t necessarily a “bad thing” but we believe if you anticipate their behavior, you won’t be surprised and that minimizes stressful situations.

BOOK DETAILS

Pub Date: May 17, 2022
Genre: Memoir / Christian Inspirational
Publisher: She Writes Press
Page Count: 304
Format: 
Paperback
ISBN: 978-1647429003
Price: $15.99

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the age of social media, what does it mean to connect through a hand-written letter?

 

True Story: When Amy Daughters reconnected with her former friend from camp decades ago, Dana, via Facebook, she had no idea how it would change her life. Through social media, Amy learned Dana’s son Parker was at St. Jude battling cancer–devastating news, but what else do you do besides comment an “I’m so sorry,” nowadays? 

 

But more than a comment happened, Amy woke up in the middle of the night and felt called in a way she couldn’t fully explain to write handwritten letters to Dana–someone who through time and distance, had become nothing more than several hundred other faces on her Facebook account. 

 

When Parker died, Amy, not knowing what else to do, continued to write Dana. Eventually, Dana wrote back, and the two became pen pals, sharing things through the mail that they had never shared before. The richness of the experience left Amy wondering something: If my life could be so changed by someone I considered “just a Facebook friend,” what would happen if I wrote all my Facebook friends a letter?

 

A staggering 580 handwritten letters later Amy’s life would never be the same. As it turned out, there were actual individuals living very real lives behind each social media profile, and she was beautifully connected to each of those extraordinary, very real people.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A native Houstonian and a graduate of The Texas Tech University, Amy W. Daughters has been a freelance writer for more than a decade — mostly covering college football and sometimes talking about her feelings. Her debut novel, You Cannot Mess This Up: A True Story That Never Happened (She Writes Press, 2019), was selected as the Silver Winner for Humor in the 2019 Foreword INDIES and the Overall Winner for Humor/Comedy in the 2020 Next Generation Indie Awards. An amateur historian, hack golfer, charlatan fashion model, and regular on the ribbon dancing circuit, Amy — a proud former resident of Blackwell, England, and Dayton, Ohio currently lives in Tomball, Texas, a suburb of Houston. She is married to a foxy computer person, Willie, and is the lucky mother of two amazing sons, Will and Matthew.

TALKING POINTS

  • Lost Art of Letter Writing – The deliberateness of a letter, honest, believable and genuine, more than Social Media could ever be. Bringing back the beautiful connection of a hand-written letter. 
  • How can we teach our younger generation to value a pen & stationery? 
  • The stages of grief and how to remain a constant and connected friend experiencing the grieving process.
  • The power of prayer and finding purpose.
  • The evolution of friendships and connections due to social media.
  • Work from home and the disconnect it creates–how letter writing can bring back more meaningful relationships.
  • Women in Sports – Amy is a decades long sportswriter–a position with its own trials and tribulations as a woman in a male-dominated field. 

TIMELY TIE-INS

December

  • Read a New Book Month
  • National Letter Writing Day – December 7
  • National Christmas Card Day – December 9

January

  • Self-Love Month
  • Universal Letter Writing Week – Jan 8-14
  • Hunt for Happiness Week – Jan 15-21

February

  • International Boost Self Esteem Month – February

April

  • Month of Hope; Day of Hope –  April 5
  • World Health Day – April 7
  • Tell a Story –  April 27
  • Trauma Awareness Month – May

PRAISE FOR DEAR DANA

“Dear Dana is an inspirational memoir about caring for friends near and far by reviving a lost art.” — Foreword Reviews

 

“. . . a captivating study regarding writing letters to friends and rethinking how people successfully bond in the modern world. An intriguing and inspiring exploration of different forms of communication.”— Kirkus Reviews

 

“This is a book for anyone who wonders about the differences between a Facebook friend and a Real-Life friend and who yearns to see a person’s real life behind their Facebook image. It is also about the power of prayer and the abundance of kindness in our world. But ultimately, it’s about connection and how we are all connected when we come from love.”    — Rivvy Neshama, author of Recipes for a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles

 

“Captivating . . . I laughed and I cried as I followed the pleasures of real mail, and the lesson hit home: Whether written or spoken, our words matter. They have the power to illuminate someone’s darkest day.” — Laurie Buchanan, PhD, author of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth and The Business of Being: Soul Purpose In and Out of the Workplace